Palihapitiya's SPAC to take Akili Interactive public in $1 bln deal

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A street sign for Wall Street is seen in the financial district in New York, U.S., November 8, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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Jan 26 (Reuters) - Akili Interactive, a startup that has developed video games to treat attention-deficit disorders, has agreed to go public by merging with a Chamath Palihapitiya-backed blank-check firm.

The merger with Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp. I (DNAA.O) announced on Wednesday values the combined company at about $1 billion and will provide Akili with up to $412 million in gross proceeds.

The proceeds consist of the $250 million the blank-check company raised in its initial public offering (IPO) and a private investment in public equity of $162 million led by serial dealmaker Palihapitiya's Social Capital.

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Akili's existing shareholders include Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings, Neuberger Berman, Mirae Asset, Amgen Ventures and Ladera Venture Partners.

The proceeds will help the company commercially launch its videogame EndeavorRx - which has won approval from the U.S. drug regulator to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

Palihapitiya will become Akili's chair after the deal closes and the merger is the second one struck by one of his blank-check firms this month, with another investment vehicle agreeing to take biotech ProKidney LP public in a $2.64 billion deal. read more

The venture investor has been at the center of the SPAC deal-making frenzy that took Wall Street by storm but has recently seen signs of waning interest. Despite the slowdown, Palihapitiya has said remains bullish on the long-term prospects of the sector.

Blank-check firms, or SPACs, are publicly listed shell companies that raise funds to merge with a private company, thereby taking it public and allowing it to bypass the scrutiny that comes with a traditional IPO.

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Reporting by Manya Saini and Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni

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